Ecology of Free-Ranging Cheetahs
Marker L., Cristescu B., Dickman A., Nghikembua MT., Boast LK., Morrison T., Melzheimer J., Fabiano E., Mills G., Wachter B., Macdonald DW.
© 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Considerable research has been conducted on cheetah ecology. Cheetahs can exist in a wide variety of habitats from thick scrub to open grassland, and habitat selection is based on a variety of factors, including visibility, prey density, and avoidance of competitively superior predators. Cheetahs naturally occur at low densities and require a prey base of small to medium-sized ungulates that can be consumed rapidly, minimizing the risks for cheetahs of being detected by larger carnivores that can usurp their kills. Cheetahs exhibit wide ranging movements and large home ranges-over 2000 km2in some areas. Reported densities generally range from 0.3 to 3.0 adult cheetahs per 100 km2. The species distribution, density, and activity patterns are impacted by human activities and the presence of larger carnivores. Understanding cheetah habitat requirements and movement ecology, especially pertaining to long-distance movements, will become progressively more important as the cheetah's range becomes increasingly fragmented.